Leo & Grace Faust
According to one of her best friends, Grace Faust derived her greatest pleasure and happiness from achieving for Ohio State. “Whatever she set out to do she got done,” assured Nancy Faulker. “Grace Heck Faust was an Ohio State alumna of the first order.”
Grace earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State in 1928, followed by a law degree in 1930. She was the university’s first female law school graduate. Leo was also a Buckeye, having learned a law degree in 1926. She and Leo knew each other professionally during the 1930’s when she served as Ohio’s first female prosecutor and he an attorney. According to the Faulkers, their friend never considered herself a feminist or a crusader, but rather a woman who considered her own personal path and interests and met all colleagues on an equal footing.
Grace and Leo did not become romantically involved until later in life, after the passing of Leo’s first wife. Grace was 73 and Leo was 77 on their wedding day in the spring of 1977.
“Because they married later, they had a good indication that they might not get to celebrate their silver anniversary,” Nancy explained. “Instead they celebrated each month with what they called a ‘monthiversary.’ They celebrated their 100th monthiversary with a reception at the Springfield Country Club. They were extremely devoted to each other.”
Through their careful estate planning, it’s easy to see that the couple was devoted to Ohio State as well. Upon their deaths, a planned gift of more than $500,000 from their estate established endowments in the areas of education and human ecology, ophthalmology, cardiology, psychiatry, cancer and, of course, law. Grace passed away in 1994, followed by Leo in 1996.
Nancy describes Grace’s interest in the arts as intense. “In her will, Grace left to the Ohio State’s human ecology area nearly all of her personal possessions, furniture, Oriental and Native American rugs, antique quilts, coverlets, jewelry, and her collection of hats, ephemera and photos,” she said. “She hoped they would be used the university in exhibits or sold by Ohio State to benefit the various colleges in which Grace had an interest.”
Described by her friend as a fashion stylist with a passion for hats, Grace was intrigued with Ohio State’s Costume Collection. When she decided to hold a fundraiser to benefit this area, she held the event at the Springfield Country Club, used her own collection of hats as decoration, and even asked Charles Kleibacker, Ohio State’s then designer-and-residence, to speak and share slides of donated clothing.
Dr. Warren Harding, a personal friend of the Fausts, was the inspiration for creating a fund to benefit the field of psychiatry. According to the Fulkners, the Fausts “checked in” to Harding Hospital for two weeks once or twice for evaluation and were great supporters of Harding’s work.
The couple also established endowments to support research in the areas of cardiology and cancer and made additional funding available for the Heck-Faust Memorial Chair Constitutional Law.
After a lifetime of pioneering a career in law–including serving as a judge in Urbana–and sharing her devotion to Ohio State, Grace received a distinguished Alumni Award from the university. In her 80’s at the time, Grace leaned over to her friend Nancy before taking the stage and said in her characteristic style, “It’s about damn time.”
Leo continued to go to the office every day, even well past 92 years of age. His years as an attorney were spent in general practice handling estate planning and litigation and representing insurance companies.